2011 Motorcycle Gift Guide: Street Helmets

November 25, 2011
By Motorcycle USA Staff
There’s nothing more critical to rider safety than a motorcycle helmet. Now ’tis the season to uprade for 2012, and Motorcycle USA is here to help. Our editors log thousands of miles on the pavement with a variety of lids, allowing us the chance to compare many of the leading brands. Check out our favorite lids of the year, along with some other popular helmet suggestions, in our Motorcycle Holiday Gift Guide to Street Helmets.

Bell RS-1 Panic Zone Helmet   

Bell RS-1 Panic Zone Helmet
Bell RS-1 Panic Zone

Although the Bell RS-1 is not the top of the line helmet offered by the iconic brand, in my opinion it is the best. This lid is perfect for everyone from the street rider all the way to the track day warrior. Inside, the padding is snug yet cushy, and most of it is removable for washing. Throw on Bell’s amazing Transitions SOLFX shield and you have a helmet that can compete with more expensive models on the market, saving a couple hundred dollars in the long run. Check out more info on this lid in the Bell RS-1 Helmet Review. – Justin Dawes

MSRP: $399.95

Icon Airframe Street Angel Helmet  

Icon Alliance Street Angel Helmet
Icon Airframe Street Angel Helmet

My wife loves her Icon Airframe Street Angel Helmet because its design is “girlish” without being over the top. Its combination of angelic wings, floral patterns and a red heart add a feminine touch. I like it because I know her pretty head is receiving the maximum amount of protection as it meets US, European, Australian and Japanese safety standards. Mrs. Harley also says it provides ample air circulation, its padding provides plenty of comfort without being too thick, is fairly lightweight, and having a removable Hydradry Liner is a bonus because, according to her, “We like our makeup, but not in our helmet.” Whenever she goes riding, the Icon Airframe Street Angel helmet is the first lid she reaches for. – Bryan Harley

MSRP:  $330

ONeal Racing Fastrack II Bluetooth Helmet
O’Neal Racing Fastrack II Bluetooth

O’Neal Racing Fastrack II Bluetooth Helmet
Before mastering the art of a full tuck at highway speeds, every rider knows the feeling of nearly having a helmet torn off their head by wind. Enter the O’Neal Racing Fastrack II Bluetooth Helmet. Designed with a lightweight fiberglass shell and aerodynamic spoilers to help maintain stability at speed, the Fastrack II helmet is a godsend for those logging lots of highway miles. It also features the added convenience of Bluetooth technology, and comes with a scratch-resistant, fog-free shield with a tool-less release mechanism.

MSRP: $279.99

Scorpion EXO-500 Helmet   

Scorpion EXO-500 Helmet
Scorpion EXO-500 Helmet

The Scorpion EXO-500 Helmet strikes a perfect balance between budget and performance. I knew I didn’t want to bother with multiple shields, so the inner sun visor was a welcome feature. The lid contains an AirFit system that allows you to pump air through the cheek pads to adjust the fit. While skeptical of the system at first, I can say it really works and helps with break-in. It’s not too loud and, having ridden in over 90-degree weather, it has great airflow through its front and rear vents. The faceshield and sun visor have remained fog-free to date. Inside, there is KwikWick moisture-wicking fiber that keeps you dry and comfortable. I have not regretted this purchase one bit, and for less than $200 you’d be hard-pressed to find a better deal. – Matt Davidson

MSRP: $199.95
Shoei Qwest Helmet   

Shoei Qwest Helmet
Shoei Qwest Helmet

Shoei lids proliferate in MotoUSA photo galleries, and for good reason, as the Japanese helmet manufacturer delivers luxury comfort and top-shelf performance. The company’s most recent creation, its Shoei Qwest Helmet, only furthers the brand’s sterling reputation. High quality fit and finish, and total rider comfort are the highlights, but it’s also lightweight (a mere two ounces heavier than the more expensive Shoei RF-1100) and very quiet. But the biggest benefit is pricing, with the Qwest representing a relative bargain in the Shoei lineup. The Qwest meets Snell M2010 standards and ranges in size from XXS to XXL. – Bart Madson
 
MSRP: $366.99 – $387.99

Bell Revolver Helmet
Bell Revolver Helmet

Bell Revolver Helmet
For those who like the ability to raise/lower the chinbar, Bell is offering an affordable option with its Revolver Helmet. The modular design includes an integrated sun visor and the Velocity Flow Ventilation system. Weighing in at 1750 gm it might be a little heavy, but the lid offers a long list of features for the money. Made of lightweight composite polycarbonate alloy, the Revolver Helmet also includes aerodynamic construction to resist wind buffeting and a removable/washable interior liner for added comfort.

MSRP: $199.95 – 209.95

AGV AX-8 Dual Helmet   

AGV AX-8 Dual Helmet
AGV AX-8 Dual Helmet

Street riders can enjoy the benefits of a visor, too. The AGV AX-8 Dual is based off the dirt bike helmet with special adaptations to make it better for on-road use. A full face shield (tinted available) keeps out the wind and rain and a special closeable chin vent adjusts airflow. Venting is moderate but the fit is comfortable and the pads and liners are easy on the skin. The AGV is lighter than some comparable dual sport helmets and it has styling that is aggressive and sleek. Most importantly, it converts quickly and effectively between dirt and street. – JC Hilderbrand
 
MSRP: $399.95

Shoei CW-1 Pinlock Shield   

Shoei CW-1 Pinlock Shield
Shoei CW-1 Pinlock Shield

Pinlock shields work on the same principle as energy efficient windows: Air trapped between the Pinlock shield and the regular visor warms and then… Actually, don’t ask us to explain it, just take our word for it – the Pinlock system plain works! Believe us, riding here in the Pacific Northwest, we deal with foggy shields aplenty. Installing the CW-1 Pinlock Shield on our Shoei helmets completely eliminated fogging issues. We also dug being able to swap out smaller tinted Pinlock inserts depending on conditions, far more convenient than toting around an extra visor. A Pinlock system, regardless of helmet brand, is a welcome and practical accessory helmet upgrade. – Bart Madson
 
MSRP: $52.99

Arai RX7 GP   

Arai RX7 GP
Arai RX7 GP

All the MCUSA editors have strong feelings regarding helmets because, universally, we feel that our heads are worth protecting. In the leading group of helmets has to be the Arai RX7 GP. With its structural net complex, Arai claims their ‘superfiber’ is 40% stronger than conventional glass fibers and the whole helmet, externally and internally, offers state of the art protection. If you have an Arai shaped head, the RX7 GP is supremely comfortable for race or road use. If you need a Shoei shape – it won’t. The finish of the RX7 GP is show bike superb, too. Read more details about the lid in the Arai RX7 GP Helmet ReviewArai helmets are available on Motorcycle-Superstore.com. – Frank Melling

Need more ideas? Check out more street helmets in Motorcycle-Superstore.com‘s Holiday Gift Guides.

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